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Not surprisingly, Eagle County Democrats would like to see Vail’s own Mike Johnston become the next governor of the state of Colorado.
At the 2018 Eagle County Democratic Party Precinct Caucuses on Tuesday night, Johnston — a former state senator from Denver who grew up in Vail — earned the highest number of preference-poll votes with 98.
Johnston was followed in the preference poll, which tallied 235 votes across eight precincts, by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who represents part of Eagle County in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. Polis got 61 preference-poll votes in his bid to run for governor.
Former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy was third with 51 votes, and former Republican tech entrepreneur Erik Underwood earned one vote. Twenty-three Eagle County Democrats were uncommitted.
The news was not nearly as good for Johnston statewide, where he garnered just 8.8 percent to nearly 50 percent for Kennedy and 32.5 percent for Polis at more than 3,000 caucus locations, according to Colorado Politics.
“I am so grateful for the incredible showing of support. I could feel the momentum building as I traveled the state.” Kennedy said in a statement.
Republicans statewide were not planning to release preference-poll results.
A large field of Democrats and Republicans is competing to earn party nominations in a multi-step process to land on June’s primary ballot and then battle it out in the November general election to replace outgoing Democrat John Hickenlooper, who is term-limited.
Johnston is on a roll of late, having recently become the first gubernatorial candidate to turn in his nominating petitions for the June 26 primary. Johnston didn’t use a professional firm, instead relying on volunteers to gather twice the necessary signatures.
Well-known Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli earlier this week, in a radio interview on KOA, predicted the race will come down to Johnston for the Democrats and current Treasurer Walker Stapleton for the Republicans.
“Johnston has enough funding to be competitive, a powerful organization that brought in his petition in record time and without using a professional firm, and he makes an effective case for his candidacy,” Ciruli said.
Tuesday’s preference poll counted raw votes that count toward allocation of delegates. Here’s an explanation of the caucus and assembly process from the Eagle County Democratic Party:
“Caucuses are neighborhood meetings where eligible Democratic voters choose candidates for elected office, are elected precinct leaders, sign up to work as election judges, and help influence the party platform. A gubernatorial preference poll is taken to allocate delegates to the county assembly.
“Delegates elected at precinct caucuses attend the Eagle County Democratic Party County Assembly on Saturday, March 17 at 9 a.m. at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.
“At the Eagle Democrats County Assembly, county elected officials will be nominated to be placed on the June primary ballot. In Eagle County, there are five Democratic incumbents seeking reelection: Jeanne McQueeney, County Commissioner District 3; Regina O’Brien, Clerk and Recorder; Mark Chapin, Assessor; Teak Simonton, Treasurer; and Kara Bettis, Coroner.
“Delegates are elected at the County Assembly to represent Eagle County Democrats at five other legislative district assemblies. The Colorado Democratic Party State Assembly is the largest, and will be held on Saturday, April 14 at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield. There, Democratic candidates for the statewide offices of Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer are nominated.
“Assemblies for U.S. Congressional Districts 2 and 3, State Senate District 5 and State House District 26 are held on Friday, April 13, at the 1stBank Center, where candidates and incumbents will be seeking nomination for the respective offices. A list of all the Democratic candidates and incumbents seeking election to offices that represent Eagle County may be found at the Eagle Dems website: http://wordpress.eagledems.org/2018-candidates/”